Wednesday, January 30, 2013

HOLY COW! Double Digits!

Double digits, hive. When did this happen!? Okay, I mean, I know when this happened (with the use of a calculator, obviously, because I'm horrible at math) but I can't believe that we're already in the double digits and going down quickly!

So much is going on, it's unreal to think of just how little time there is between now and our big day. And that time is going to fly by because I'm going to be super busy! On the personal side, I got to see one of my favorites, Ed Sheeran, in concert last weekend and I'm taking a five day to Napa/San Fransisco for work. Then, wedding wise, I still have several small things to check off my to do list (like shopping for a dress for Momma Otter) and other wedding-related events like my bachelorette party and wedding shower coming up. It will be here before we know it.

But, like I said, I have a hodge podge of things to catch you guys up on - so here's the good news! We've got our cake and cupcake situation figured out; we've officially booked Holy Cow Cupcakes for the wedding! I did a little taste test necessary, and oh man - no wonder they're named Holy Cow. ;)

Here's the cake inspiration:

Photo (and a tutorial on how to do this on your own!) via Sweetapolita / Picture this in pink

As for cupcakes, we won't be changing the colors. We get to choose up to 10 varieties, which blew my mind - SO MANY OPTIONS!, and they were totally affordable. For delicious cupcakes. I think I may be making another stop during my lunch break...

If you're doing a cake and cupcakes, did you make the colors match?

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Invitation Reveal!

The time has come, hive! I'm revealing our invitations today! But before I do, I have to do two things.

First, if you're doing the math in your head thinking "But, Otter, it's only the end of January. Why are you sending your invitation so early?" Well hive, by now it has already happened, but on the day we went to get our invitations weighed, we were informed that postage rates were about to go up. While we had to put the extra amount on the return RSVP card, I wasn't paying for extra postage to delay sending the invitations by a couple of weeks. Instead, out they went! Plus, as not everyone is lucky enough to have the great job that I have, I was concerned that some individuals may not be able to get the time off if we didn't let them know more specific details sooner rather than later.

Second, yes, I'm a giant nerd. So I went ahead and made Mr. Otter stop and take a photo of me with the sample invitation before we went in to the post office.

If you'll first remember our invitation inspiration and the final product, you'll remember these photos:

The Otter Invitations: Design Time :  wedding indianapolis invitations stationery Ii Emil ii_emil
Photo via Impressed Inc. / Invitation design by a friend of the bride

Personal image / Design by MOH Cubbie

Thankfully, MOH Cubbie is leaps and bounds ahead of us in terms of design and made her own version of our invitation, featuring our wedding colors. As soon as we saw it, we were hooked! So without any more delays, here are our invitations!

What do you think of the color scheme!? We're thrilled with how they turned out; and we can't thank MOH Cubbie enough for lending her excellent design services to us for the big day.

Friday, January 25, 2013

First Dress Fitting!

Another thing checked off the list: my first dress fitting! (And a fair warning: since I'm not sharing my dress until after the wedding, there are no dress photos. I'm sorry!)

I have to be honest with the hive, so here goes: I wasn't that excited about my first dress fitting. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't experiencing dress regret or getting cold feet - nothing like that - instead, I was worried about how I would look in the dress. Particularly, my arms and upper body. I think that most women have insecurities about their bodies and mine are numerous. I don't like my stomach, I'm not a fan of my outer thighs (if I gain an ounce, that's the first place it goes), and quite frankly: I hate my arms. They're by no means "fat" (though I am guilty of using that term when I talk to friends), but they definitely aren't in shape like they used to be. Too many years of skipping workouts and eating fast food have added up, and I was super nervous that at my fitting, I would be so preoccupied with my body image that I wouldn't care at all about the dress.

Thankfully, once I was in the dress, my attitude changed quite a bit. Things like having the a fitting  appointment make me realize just how quickly time is flying by. Before we know it, April will be here and I'll be counting mere weeks rather than months.

A post-appointment reality check from Best Friend J also helped. When I called her complaining about my arms, she told me to be realistic because nobody is going to look at me and notice that my arms look bad. They'll be too busy taking in everything else (including my wonderful dress!) to care what my arms look like.

Personal photo / Best Friend J, for future reference

A little more about the logistics of my actual fitting, haha. I managed to get into my dress by myself (which won't be happening on the wedding day, of course) and put on my shoes. When I walked out, Momma Otter had a few tears again, but recovered much more quickly this time than when we actually purchased the dress. ;) *Awww Momma Otter* After that, we had a bit of waiting time so I practiced sitting down in my dress, a logistic I didn't really consider when purchasing my dress. 

When it was time for my fitting to start, we pretty quickly realize that we would have one major issue - I'm going to be going from 5 inch heels to no shoes. After I have my dance with my daddy, the heels are coming off. I love them too much to get them any more dirty than necessary, plus the girls and I already discussed taking our shoes off to dance the night away! Unfortunately, this meant that I need my dress to fit both with and without 5in heels - quite the task.

Ultimately, we ended up deciding to go as high as we could without showing off the underside of my dress. (Can't give away any details! ;)) This means that I'll be pretty comfortable without shoes, and I'll have to pick up my dress when I walk, but I think it was the best solution for an otherwise complicated issue.

Tell the truth: did you have any insecurities when you went to your first dress fitting?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Make Me Pretty: The Trial

Y'all, like I mentioned in my last post, there's a hodge podge of things coming at you - so much has happened in the past few weeks, time is flying by, and things are getting checked off the list so quickly that I can't keep up! (Which is definitely a good thing. ;))

I was going for Miley makeup - something pretty neutral and a little smokey on the eyes, but with big, big lashes. You see, I'm a bad example of how to wear makeup because while I wash my face daily, I don't take my mascara off until the last possible day that it looks acceptable. I like my eyelashes to be super big, and since I have zero skills in applying makeup, false lashes aren't in my future.

Photo via Fanpop / Miley's Oscar 2010 look (I'm crazy obsessed with that Jenny Packham dress!)

So with all that said, here's the before and after! (I'd like to point out that my eyes were NOT supposed to be closed, but Momma Otter took the photo and didn't think to alert me to the fact that I closed my eyes. Sigh.)

Personal photo / Talk about a confidence boost!

And more about the vendor, because I can't say enough good things about them! For makeup, I booked EyeMAX, a hair and makeup boutique that's rapidly growing - they actually just opened their second studio in downtown Indianapolis. I read some reviews about them, all good, and decided to call and book the trial for sooner rather than later. I decided on just a random Saturday, which was perfect because it allowed Momma Otter to come along. 

My makeup artist is named Jillian, and she was amazing to work with. She took the photos and basically duplicated them... just on my face. Momma Otter kept making all these comments throughout the process, and when I finally got to see my face I totally understood why. That before and after is crazy! 

Personal photos / And this is 12 hours later... Still looking great!

My only complaint? I don't like having anything on my lips, so I need to get adjusted to that prior to the big day if I'm sticking with a gloss. If not, we'll just change the lip - easy fix! 

If you're an Indy bride and looking for a makeup artist, you definitely need to consider EyeMAX; they're well worth it. In fact, I'll be going back with Best Friend J the day of my bachelorette party and I can't wait!

Oh and just a fun fact: I totally wore those falsies for at least four days. I know, I know - bad habit. But they still looked awesome! ;) 

Monday, January 21, 2013

My (Not So) Little Girls

Hive, I have so much to update you on! So excuse me if I jump around a little bit; I just have too many things to share! First of all: about my little girls. They aren't so little anymore, but let me explain.

Instead of having flower girls or a ring bearer, I wanted to include my favorite little girls. These two babies have been so important to me since... well, since they were born! It's a bit of a running joke in our family that my brother and I were with them so much that each one of them could be our twins. And it's completely true. :)

Personal photo / K and K

K, the one on the right in this photo, is my twin. We are exactly alike in so many ways, and I tell everyone that I know that I taught her everything she knows. ;) Examples include a love of cheerleading and taking way too many photos. I love these two babies, who obviously aren't babies anymore, and I wanted to make sure they were included in the wedding. Since we weren't having flower girls, I decided on an alternative.

Photo (and signs) by Etsy seller 4TheLoveOfHannah

I thought this would be a great solution to make sure my girls were included and felt important, but without having them be traditional flower girls. I know that having them around is going to be a joy for me, and I'm so glad that both of them are excited to be in the wedding. :) 

If you didn't have flower girls or a ring bearer, did you do something unique to incorporate your favorite kids?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ceremony Details: Silence

Actually, just a moment of silence.

We have three grandfathers (both of Mr. O's and my pappy) who have passed, and won't be present on our wedding day. Also missing will be my best friend, and now precious angel, Kirsten.

Personal photo / Kir and I during school one day

Kir passed away in December of 2006. I was a sophomore in high school. Anyone who has lost someone close to them can attest to the fact that it never gets easier. To this day, Kir is always on my mind. Even little things like shopping trips where I find something and think "oh that's perfect for her!" So to not have her standing beside me at my ceremony is just as devastating as my pappy missing. 

While we've planned some special ways to remember those who can't be with us, we've specifically designated a moment of our ceremony for those loved ones. Just a simple moment of silence. I know that this will probably cause the waterworks to begin, if they haven't already, but it's not something either Mr. O and I are willing to skip. 

Deciding how to incorporate our lost loved ones into our ceremony was a difficult decision. Even with the other memorial items we have planned, it doesn't quite seem like enough to me. And quite truthfully, I'm not sure anything will ever be enough, because of course we'd much rather have them physically there with us rather than be deciding how best to incorporate their love for us into the day.

If you have lost loved ones, how did you remember them on your big day? I'm open to any ideas!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ceremony Details: A Rainy Day Plan

Ah, the weather. Is it just me or does everyone worry about the weather on their wedding day? There were a few factors that went into our choice of an April wedding. First, we didn't want too long of an engagement. 16 months has been plenty of time, anything longer would've made me too impatient. Also, I really, desperately want peonies. That meant April or May. Lastly, the weather was very important for us to consider because I pass out when I get too hot. As in eyes roll back, fully faint, on the ground pass out. So summer months were out. With fall out because of a long engagement, summer out because of the heat, and a desire for peonies - spring it was.

Then comes one of those weird quirks that some people (no, just me?) have... I really don't like odd numbers. Exception: 23. But being married in 2013 was enough odd numbers for me, so we (okay, I mostly) decided on April instead of May. After that, it was easy - it would either be the 6th or the 20th, because we wanted a Saturday wedding.

Now, the 6th is special to us. Mr. O's birthday is June 6th, mine is December 6th. We started dating in June. But I wanted to set our wedding apart from these other dates, so the 20th it was.

But less of my weirdness and more about the weather: according to one version of a long range weather forecast, the weather in "April ... will be warmer and drier than normal, with an especially warm first half of April." Well, the especially warm part doesn't help since we're in the last half of the month, but at least it seems we may espace the rain, right?

We have a rain plan (move everything into the barn, which will already be set as the reception space - simple!), but I do have some concerns about our rain plan.

First, there will be people coming in and out of the barn to get things set up while the ceremony is going on. We hired pros, of course, so I'm sure that they will know what to do should the situation occur, but still - it concerns me that there may be food being set up while we're actually having our ceremony. Another concern is the setup of the actual space; some guests may not be able to see because there are pillars throughout the space. Again, I'm sure that guests could move their chairs around as needed, but it still crosses my mind.

For those of you who had a rain plan, how did you accomodate everyone? And is there anything else I should be thinking of?

Friday, January 11, 2013

An Unplugged Ceremony

Like Mrs. Mink, I pondered some time ago the unplugged ceremony. After reading Mrs. Mink's post again, I went and visited the article she mentions on Offbeat Bride about the unplugged wedding ceremony. Once again, I saw this gem of a photo:

Image via Offbeat Bride / Photo by Aurora-Photography

Now. As someone who works as a social media manager, I totally understand capturing moments and sharing them. Even from a guest perspective, I can see why they would want to capture their own photos of the day. Heck, as a bride, I know I'm going to be really impatient to get my photos back, so I'm actually looking forward to seeing some guest photos... of the reception.

(Image via Instagram user fletcherdonivon of the lovely Savannah's wedding)

That's right - of the reception. I know, I know - some people (including some of our guests) will see it as rude that we request them to put away their cameras and phones during the ceremony. I'm sure there may be some disappointment that they're being asked not to Instagram, tweet, and etc. throughout our ceremony. But as someone who spends so much time on social media, I can very easily attest to the fact that when I post a photo, I'll take a quick scroll down my feed. Sure - I'll send that tweet quickly, but then I'll see another tweet and want to respond. Or maybe I'll get a text when I go to take that photo, and respond to that after I get my photo. While I'm sure not everyone gets sucked in like me, I know a lot of people do.

So instead of getting photos back with guests looking at their laps, we're going to ask guests to disconnect during the ceremony. The recessional? Throughout the reception? Please snap away, discreetly. (That's my nice way of saying don't get in Stacy's way.) 

(Image via Instagram user jacirenea, again of the lovely Savannah's wedding)

Now the question becomes, since we're skipping programs, how will we communicate this request to our guests? I feel very strongly about this, so it's important to me that it's communicated very clearly. Well, first, it will be on our chalkboard program. We're also going to ask our DJ to announce our request just as the ceremony begins. Hopefully these two reminders will allow our guests to be present with us as we enjoy what the whole day is really about - the ceremony.

If you had an unplugged ceremony - how did it turn out?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Let's talk about crafts, baby

Let's talk about you [Hive] and me, let's talk about the [not] good things and [definitely] all the bad things that may be*... I would keep going but really this isn't working out as I hoped since I have to keep adding words. ;) I think you get my point though, hive. Today, we're veering into Crazyland; aka: the world in which Miss Otter thinks she can conquer a craft.

I make the comparison here to Alice in the meadow, right before she sees the white rabbit. In a world of my own, I'd be able to do crafts and they'd be Pinterest worthy - of course - and they'd be beautiful and perfect (or at least close to it) and that would be a wonderland.

Before you scroll down, you must look at the inspiration photos I shared. So now after seeing the inspiration photos, I give you these. The table numbers. If they're even worthy of being called table numbers, given the outcome.

After taking these first few photos, I realized that the red paper I had used to modge podge the numbers on might make it difficult to judge the quality of the numbers.
These two still aren't quite the right color of paint, but I think you get the idea. Giant craft fail.

What was your worst craft fail? (Make me feel better please!?)

* For those of you who guessed that I was referencing Pitch Perfect when I said hard pass, you were right! I was also watching it while "crafting," hence my lame introduction.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Stuff We're Skipping: Programs

Just in case you aren't caught up: we've established that we're skipping a wedding website, and we'll be modifying the garter toss. Now for the next thing that we're skipping: the programs.

illustrations wedding program
Photo by: Carl Zoch on Bridal Guide via
I love the way the wedding party looks in these programs - such a fun way to personalize the programs to your own wedding party!

diy confetti program
Photo by: Carl Zoch on Bridal Guide via
If I can't have glitter - then why not confetti!? I love that these come in little bags with confetti to toss. That idea may just stick...

Image via Style Me Pretty / Photography by PUO Photo

I really love this third program, in particular. I think it's just the right combination of simple but fun. It immediately stood out to me because that whole part about the bride choosing the songs? Yeah, that's very Mr. Otter and I. ;) And if I decided I wanted that confetti tossed, I could easily incorporate that with this style of program.

But, the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if it was really worth it in a practical sense to print programs.

While I certainly would love to have programs, that's another cost to factor into our budget. It also loses some practicality to me because I think of programs as more for the summer when it's hot - give your guests something to fan themselves with! Since our wedding is in Indiana, in April, there's really no telling if we'll have rain, chilly weather, or mild weather. So fans, not really necessary in our case.

I do like that it introduces all the members of the wedding party, but again, the more practical side of me says that people aren't going to keep the programs - they'll either get tossed or forgotten by the end of the night. (And I mean forgotten in the best way possible, like people are having too much fun dancing to remember their programs!)

The more I thought about it, the more I just wasn't sure if it was really worth it to print programs. But I still wanted something to tell people how it was going to go, especially since we're asking for an unplugged ceremony. (That post coming soon!) That's when I turned to one of my most coveted items: the chalkboard.

Image via 100 Layer Cake / Photography by Lowe Photos

Now, while I would still try to use some of the fun language in the paper program I love, I think this is the perfect way to display information without spending a ton on something that won't be kept. It's also a great way to let guests know that (weather permitting) there's going to be a sparkler sendoff later in the evening. And okay, bonus feature: one we buy and use the chalkboard, it's mine forever! *evil laugh* I know could put this to good use in our home, so it would be well worth the investment...

What do you guys think? Paper or chalkboard?

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Stuff We're Skipping: Removing the Garter

Okay, you guys. I'm all about traditions - I love them. I love making new ones and having old ones that I can rely on. I love seeing all the different traditions people choose to incorporate into their wedding. But from day one, there was one tradition I knew I would be modifying - the garter toss.

See, I love this part:
Image via / Photo by B.Wright Photography

And I hate this part:
Image via / Photo by Apple Moon Photography

Hate is a strong word. I know. And I know some people LOVE this tradition. Heck, I love this photo - I think it's hysterical. But the idea of Mr. O with his head up my dress in front of all our family and friends? In front of my father? Let's be real - HELL. NO. I'm sorry, but just no. 

But I love the toss. And I'm tossing flowers. So while I'm not skipping this tradition, I am modifying it. Instead of him removing my garter (and probably making me cry of embarrassment), there will be one wrapped around my toss bouquet, just waiting to be thrown into the crowd. I'll also be wearing one under my dress. Because like I said, I love the tradition, just not the removal. 

So we're taking a hard pass* on that one, but still incorporating part of the tradition in our big day. I think that's a good compromise. :)

What traditions did you choose to skip on your big day? If you did the garter removal, did you have any qualms about it like I do?

* Anybody catch that movie reference!? 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Stuff We're Skipping: A Wedding Website

Oh hi, hive! Remember me? (Probably not - that's okay though. ;)) I think with just over 100 days (WHERE HAS MY TIME GONE!?) to go, it's time to start talking about the things that we aren't including in our wedding. Or wedding planning, in this case. Today, I'm talking about why we aren't having a wedding website.

Websites by MyWedding / Photo by Matt Ramos Photography / How cute are these!?

So initially, I just assumed that like most other couples that I know who've recently gotten married, we would have a wedding website. We'd share the engagement story, more details about the wedding day, places to stay and things to do while guests are in town - things like that. Pretty much the "norm" of wedding websites these days. 

I also thought I would allow guests to RSVP online. While I know there are some guests who won't utilize that method, I thought - why not? Speaking personally, I know it would be a lot easier for me to hop online and RSVP than it would be to mail something back in - I would forget about it! So that was my plan... or so I thought.

After talking to Mr. O about the RSVP situation, he said he really didn't think his family would utilize that function. Then after a closer look at the guest list, we realized that over 90% of our guests would be from the area - they won't need our instructions on where to stay, or what they can do for entertainment should they choose to stay in town rather than go home at the end of the night. I also realized at that point that I would be spending quite a bit on postage only to have them be tossed if they used the RSVP function online. 

After that realization and a little more discussion with MOH Cubbie, we decided that maybe a wedding website wasn't necessary for us. Even something premade, like the cute ones above, didn't really seem necessary the more we thought about it.

So that was it - no wedding website for us. (And more time for me to get back to the Bee!) 

Did you have a wedding website? If so, what was the reason you decided to have one?